Age of Jahiliyah

A blog of wide and varied interest, including Islam, Muslims, Poetry, Art and much more.

Archive for the month “May, 2007”

Salutation by Ezra Pound

O generation of the thoroughly smug
and the thoroughly uncomfortable,
I have seen fishermen picknicking in the sun,
I have seen them with untidy families,
I have seen their smiles full of teeth
and heard ungainly laughter.
And I am happier than you are,
And they were happier than I am;
And the fish swim in the lake
and do not even own clothing.

One Art by Elizabeth Bishop

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

Dreams by Edgar Allan Poe

Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!

My spirit not awakening, till the beam

Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.

Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,

‘Twere better than the cold reality

Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,

And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,

A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.

But should it be- that dream eternally

Continuing- as dreams have been to me

In my young boyhood- should it thus be given,

‘Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.

For I have revell’d, when the sun was bright

I’ the summer sky, in dreams of living light

And loveliness,- have left my very heart

In climes of my imagining, apart

From mine own home, with beings that have been

Of mine own thought- what more could I have seen?

‘Twas once- and only once- and the wild hour

From my remembrance shall not pass- some power

Or spell had bound me- ’twas the chilly wind

Came o’er me in the night, and left behind

Its image on my spirit- or the moon

Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon

Too coldly- or the stars- howe’er it was

That dream was as that night-wind- let it pass.

I have been happy, tho’ in a dream.

I have been happy- and I love the theme:

Dreams! in their vivid coloring of life,

As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife

Of semblance with reality, which brings

To the delirious eye, more lovely things

Of Paradise and Love- and all our own!

Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

An Obstacle by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I was climbing up a mountain-path

With many things to do,

Important business of my own,

And other people’s too,

When I ran against a Prejudice

That quite cut off my view.

So I spoke to him politely,

For he was huge and high,

And begged that he would move a bit

And let me travel by.

He smiled, but as for moving! –

He didn’t even try.

And then I begged him on my knees;

I might be kneeling still

If so I hoped to move that mass

Of obdurate ill-will –

As well invite the monument

To vacate Bunker Hill!!

So I sat before him helpless,

In an ecstasy of woe –

The mountain mists were rising fast,

The sun was sinking slow –

When a sudden inspiration came,

As sudden winds do blow.

I took my hat, I took my stick,

My load I settled fair,

I approached that awful incubus

With an absent-minded air –

And I walked directly through him,

As if he wasn’t there

I approached that awful incubus

With an absent-minded air–

And I walked directly through him,

As if he wasn’t there!

Life’s Scar by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

They say the world is round, and yet
I often think it square,
So many little hurts we get
From corners here and there.
But one great truth in life I’ve found,
While journeying to the West-
The only folks who really wound
Are those we love the best.

The man you thoroughly despise
Can rouse your wrath, ’tis true;
Annoyance in your heart will rise
At things mere strangers do;
But those are only passing ills;
This rule all lives will prove;
The rankling wound which aches and thrills
Is dealt by hands we love.

The choicest garb, the sweetest grace,
Are oft to strangers shown;
The careless mien, the frowning face,
Are given to our own.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.

Love does not grow on every tree,
Nor true hearts yearly bloom.
Alas for those who only see
This cut across a tomb!
But, soon or late, the fact grows plain
To all through sorrow’s test:
The only folks who give us pain
Are those we love the best.

They say the world is round, and yet
I often think it square,
So many little hurts we get
From corners here and there.
But one great truth in life I’ve found,
While journeying to the West-
The only folks who really wound
Are those we love the best.

The man you thoroughly despise
Can rouse your wrath, ’tis true;
Annoyance in your heart will rise
At things mere strangers do;
But those are only passing ills;
This rule all lives will prove;
The rankling wound which aches and thrills
Is dealt by hands we love.

The choicest garb, the sweetest grace,
Are oft to strangers shown;
The careless mien, the frowning face,
Are given to our own.
We flatter those we scarcely know,
We please the fleeting guest,
And deal full many a thoughtless blow
To those who love us best.

Love does not grow on every tree,
Nor true hearts yearly bloom.
Alas for those who only see
This cut across a tomb!
But, soon or late, the fact grows plain
To all through sorrow’s test:
The only folks who give us pain
Are those we love the best.

In a Burying Ground by Sara Teasdale

This is the spot where I will lie
When life has had enough of me,
These are the grasses that will blow
Above me like a living sea.
These gay old lilies will not shrink
To draw their life from death of mine,
And I will give my body’s fire
To make blue flowers on this vine.
“O Soul,” I said, “have you no tears?
Was not the body dear to you?”
I heard my soul say carelessly,
“The myrtle flowers will grow more blue.”

Fear by Charles Simic

Fear passes from man to man

Unknowing,

As one leaf passes its shudder

To another.

All at once the whole tree is trembling.

And there is no sign of the wind

Mother to Son by Langston Hughes

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

It Couldn’t Be Done by Edgar Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,

But he with a chuckle replied

That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one

Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.

So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin

On his face. If he worried he hid it.

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;

At least no one ever has done it”;

But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,

And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.

With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,

Without any doubting or quiddit,

He started to sing as he tackled the thing

That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,

There are thousands to prophesy failure;

There are thousands to point out to you, one by one,

The dangers that wait to assail you.

But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,

Just take off your coat and go to it;

Just start to sing as you tackle the thing

That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Parents by Frank Steele

I felt his death coming for years

the way you can be under

fluorescent lights in a library

with no windows, reading

some bright page, and gradually

feel the sky outside

invisibly cloud over. But I remember

those last few times before his fall

how they would be standing in the driveway

waving goodbye again, how they lit up

for a moment, suddenly not old but just

themselves, his arm around her, cheering us on,

cheering for life itself as we drove away.

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